This week I noticed the lawns of several of my neighbours being serviced by a local weed killing company. There was a large rusty vat in the back of a pickup, its contents indiscriminately covering every square centimeter of lawn on each property serviced. I have a problem with this for several reasons.
The lawn ideal of a “weed-free” astroturf appearance is antiquated and ignorant. Annual herbicide and insecticide treatments to create a monocrop of gmo, herbicide-resistant grass is unsafe and unsustainable. Non-native grasses require high water and mowing inputs and offer neither food nor shelter for our pollinators and other small creatures who share our community.
Resilience in both nature and human health is found in biodiversity and cooperation. When we poison our environment, we are also poisoning ourselves. And what about the pollinators? Dandelion blooms provide important early spring nectar for bees and other beneficial insects. Is it justifiable to regularly pollute our yards with potentially carcinogenic, killing chemicals to satiate the outdated colonial desire for dominion over nature and the odd unsightly weed?
We know better, so let’s do better. Is it possible to shift from an obsession to having the “perfect lawn” to an obsession with soil regeneration or organic veggie gardening? There are many lawn alternative seed mixes that contain no-mow, low-growing grass alternatives that are also drought resistant. Planning outdoor spaces highlighting permaculture design using native, drought-resistant planting is another option. For more information on soil regeneration solutions please refer to the work of Dr. Zach Bush.
Dr. Anna Arsenault
Naturopathic Doctor, Gibsons